Heading up S4C’s factual programming this Christmas is three-part documentary Dai yn y Dŵr, which starts on Boxing Day at 8.25pm.
Dai Jones, Llanilar, famous for series such as Cefn Gwlad and Rasus, takes a break from dry land to tackle his biggest challenge yet – learning to swim in just seven days.
The popular presenter is famously afraid of the water, and after a nerve-racking first attempt in Aberystwyth, flies to Egypt for an intensive swimming course in the Red Sea, under the supervision of Maesteg-born diving and swimming coach, Alun Evans.
Dai hopes his new series will have a positive influence. “If it inspires people like me to take swimming lessons that would be great. I felt the exercise doing me good straight away,” he says. But he’s tight-lipped about the outcome – whether he manages to throw away the armbands and conquer his fear.
Other S4C Christmas highlights include a brand new animated film based on the legend of Gelert, the faithful hound of Prince Llywelyn the Great, who protected his master’s son from a ravenous wolf.
The colourful 30-minute 2D film, called Gelert, the first ever animation of the famous tale, will be broadcast at 6.25pm on Christmas Day. Among the stars voicing the main characters are John Ogwen, Lowri Steffan and Tudur Owen, while Gelert’s bark is provided courtesy of an Irish wolfhound.
Also on Christmas Day, at 5.55pm, Cha Cha Gethin follows the progress of Blue Peter’s Gethin Jones as he trips the light fantastic on Strictly Come Dancing,
World-famous tenor Dennis O’Neill takes to the stage of the Wales Millennium Centre with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in a Christmas feast of opera to mark his 60th birthday, with S4C broadcasting the concert, Gala Dennis a Kiri, on 30 December.
Special policeman PC Leslie Wynne launches his new chat show on Boxing Day, while there’ll be seasonal specials of entertainment shows Cadair Fawr Eleri Sion and Pws as well as soaps Pobol y Cwm and Rownd a Rownd and a celebrity edition of Mastermind Cymru.
S4C will also broadcast a range of top sporting fixtures, including one of the highlights of the rugby season, the Scarlets v Ospreys match at Stradey Park on 27 December.